(02/04/2015) Where Should We Look?

Posted: February 3, 2015 in America, Biography, History, Knowledge
Tags: , , , , ,

Today, a poem is shared to celebrate Black History Month, 2015.  The African American historian, Carter Godwin Woodson was born December 19, 1875.  He was the seventh of nine children born to two former slaves.  He was raised on their tobacco farm in Virginia, worked there during his early childhood, and as a teenager, went to work in the coal mines to help the family survive.  Carter G. Woodson learned to read using the family Bible and his father’s evening newspaper.  He began high school at the age of 20 and completed studies there in less than 2 years.  Woodson went on to Berea College (Kentucky), the University of Chicago, the Sorbonne, and Harvard University, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1912.  Although discouraged by some at Harvard who taught “the Negro had no history,” Dr. Woodson would later teach and serve as a dean, there; and in 1915, Dr. Woodson would found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History to train Black historians and to collect, preserve, and publish documents on Black life and Black people.  Also in 1915, Dr. Woodson authored his first book, The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861.  In 1933, he published The Mis-Education of the Negro.  In 1926, the second week of February was chosen for Negro History Week to acknowledge Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who both were born in that month.  Doctor Woodson also founded the Journal of Negro History (1916), Associated Publishers (1922), and the Negro Bulletin (1937).  Woodson spent most of his adult life working to promote racial harmony by educating all people about the vast contributions made by Black men and women throughout history.  Doctor Woodson died on April 3, 1950, and Black History Month established in America’s bicentennial year (1976) is his legacy.

Should we call upon the scholars
With their parchments and their scrolls
Having knowledge from the ancients,
Or the dark and hidden holes
Showing records prehistoric
Carved in stone, or made with chalk
Should we begin with reading, or
Should we begin with talk?

 

WHERE SHOULD WE LOOK?
[A Poem for Black History Month, 2015]

Where should we look for our history?
What should our study be?
Should we always start in Africa,
Across the vast blue sea?
Its village life, its tales of war,
Its empires raised in glory
Its trek and struggle to survive
Its tears and human story?

Someone said, try the barber shop,
Another said the lodge
Fraternities, sororities
The newspapers, but dodge
The bullet, leave the gangsters out
The number runners, booze
Migration from the south to north
The singing of the blues

The buffalo soldier cavalry
The winning of the west
The struggle for our civil rights
Is part of our behest
A trove of entertainers
Those inspired who believed
Inventors, painters, film makers
The athletes who achieved

The captains of our industries
The funeral homes, the schools
Discoverers of continents
The “educated fools”
The hustlers and the hoochies
The money changing hands
The scourge of dope upon our streets
The royalty of bands?

Start at the bridge from yesterday
That spans to reach tomorrow
Woven strong with simple truth
Life triumph laced with sorrow
The challenges, accomplishments
And what we sought to gain
The risk we took, or what was lost
And how we endured pain

Go to the edge of sanity
Its mix of peace and strife
The family Bible scribblings
Wherever there is life,
The baptized, married, born and died
History past, behind
The history that is yet to be
In your heart, your gut, your mind.

Signature Mark

 

©Michael Andrew Williams, 2015.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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